Getting to Grips with Grants: A Funders Perspective

Delegates from across the South West gathered for the first session of the much-anticipated Firm Foundations Programme to learn from expert speakers and share valuable information and advice about how best to approach capital projects.

Setting the scene for the day, and in fact the programme itself, was keynote speaker Kelly Spry Phare, Development Manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund in the South West.  Kelly gave an invaluable insight into how to secure HLF support, outlining the fundamental principles for developing HLF capital projects.  Although this may sound obvious, many organisations fail to consider the must haves, the must do’s and the what if’s. Some of the main topics Kelly discussed in her talk were:

Setting the scene

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded £7.6 billion to over 40,000 projects since 1994, and will continue to award £300m a year in new grants through to 2019, however the pot is shrinking in real terms and as a result competition is increasing.

What are your outcomes?

HLF is looking for projects that focus on heritage, people and communities, and are actively engaging with people.

Accessing the right grant

A range of HLF grants are available, from £3,000 up to £5 million.  Most relevant for capital projects are Our Heritage; Resilient Heritage, Heritage Grants and Heritage Enterprise: each has a different application process with different timescales attached.  Regardless of which programme you choose, you must focus on the outcomes of the project – for people, heritage and communities.

What is assessed on making an application?

Before you even begin writing your application, think honestly about the following:

  • What is the heritage focus of the project?
  • What is the need or opportunity that the project is responding to?
  • Why does the project need to go ahead now and why is Lottery funding required?
  • What outcomes will the project achieve?
  • Does the project offer value for money?
  • Is the project well planned?
  • Is the project financially realistic?
  • Will the project outcomes be sustained?

Your answers will inform – and strengthen- your application.


How long will it take?

The application process itself will take longer than you think, and its important that you plan for this.  By looking at the diagram below, you can get an insight into how long a typical Heritage Grant application can take.


Partnership funding

HLF will ask you to make a contribution towards your project. This is described as ‘partnership funding’ and it can be made up of cash, volunteer time, non-cash contributions, or a combination of all of these. More information on this is available on the HLF website.

Getting help from HLF

If you are interested in HLF funding, the first step is to have a look here – ‘looking for funding’.

Then take a look at the guidance notes as this sets out what HLF fund, the outcomes HLF is looking for and advice about how to make an application – it’s really surprising how many people haven’t done this before they make an application.

If you think your project is a fit, then seek early advice from HLF.  Submit a project enquiry form and start the conversation – you don’t have to have everything fully formed!

For more information on how the Firm Foundations Project can help your capital project, please contact the Cornwall Museums Partnership Office on 01209 500750.

Setting the foundations your project needs

Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Failure to plan, is planning to fail.’ Everyone knows that its good advice to write a plan when you are embarking on a project of a particular length. Yet many of us don’t know where to start and quickly get too busy to set aside the time to commit anything to paper, let alone get something implemented.

The truth is that a good plan can help you to identify objectives, milestones and breakdown deliverables, which the project can then be measured against. It frees you up to concentrate on the things that really will make a difference, helping you bring people together to achieve better performance and greater efficiency, giving you much better control of what you are doing.

All of these points, and much more will be addressed within our upcoming Firm Foundations Programme. Cornwall Museums PartnershipCornwall Council, K2 Funding and Tate St Ives have launched this new programme, which has been created with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, especially to support to help heritage organisations across Cornwall to successfully deliver heritage construction projects.

Guest Speaker, Tamsin Daniel, Culture Programme Officer at Cornwall Council will be hosting a session dedicated to setting your project foundations. Tamsin will discuss key topics within the planning process including project objectives and business planning, deliverability, viability, managing sponsors and stakeholders, building partnerships and post project management.

Delegates can expect to walk away from the session with a better understanding of how to plan for success and how to survive the process.


About Tamsin

Tamsin Daniel has many years of experience delivering projects within the cultural sector and supporting organisations through the process.  She has been responsible for securing millions of pounds of investment for Cornwall and most recently, has managed two phases of redevelopment at King Edward Mine, bringing derelict Grade II* Listed buildings back in to economic use as work units, a café and new exhibition space.

Tamsin is a member of the culture team in Cornwall Council’s Economic Growth Service and she is also a member of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s South West Committee.

For more information on the Firm Foundations Programme please click here. Alternatively, you can email or call Cornwall Museums Partnership on 01209 500 750.


Good governance – why does it matter?

Charity governance and fundraising have been in the spotlight recently, and not for good reasons.

The Charity Commission for England and Wales has published a report of its inquiry into a charity that supported hospices. Amongst its findings it found that there was poor governance, financial mismanagement, that the trustees hadn’t acted in the charity’s best interests, and that they failed to manage the risks or comply with their legal duties and responsibilities. The result was that a once healthy charity was no longer able to support its work in the community.

A further report from the Charity Commission goes on to cite that poor governance is often at the heart of the problems they tackle in their regulatory role, specifically a lack of strategic planning and oversight – which are often viewed by charities as ‘optional extras’.

To help combat this, a coalition of organisations, including the Charity Commission, ACEVO and the Small Charities Coalition have come together to consult on a new Charity Governance Code. As Rosie Chapman, Chair of the Charity Governance Steering Group says “The case for good governance of charities, led by committed and engaged trustees, with an understanding of their role, appropriate skills and an ability to lead has never been clearer”.

The draft code is based on 6 key principles and applies to any size of charity. These principles are built on a foundation that assumes trustees are committed to their charity’s goals, understand their roles and responsibilities, and aim to meet standards of best practice in governance. The code looks like this:

Code Diagram

Good Governance Code Diagram as cited by

Taken from

So why does any of this actually matter – how does this help me and my charity?

A well-governed organisation will find it easier to comply with the law and meet its aims. Using the code will help you develop good governance, whether you are starting from scratch or reviewing where you already are.

The Code’s principles and good practice tips are aimed to help board members:

  • Recognise and meet legal requirements
  • Know how well the organisation is meeting its aims
  • Make good, timely decisions
  • Explain where, why and how money has been spent
  • Provide strong leadership
  • Treat people fairly and equally

Using the Code will also help you demonstrate to funders and supporters that you take good governance seriously.

Serious about Good Governance? Cornwall Museums Partnership is delivering the first of a number of workshops aimed at improving governance on the 8th February at Cornwall’s Regimental Museum.

These full day workshop can be booked online here.

Museums to tell stories of local science heroes

From Orkney to Cornwall, communities across the UK are celebrating the scientific heroes on their doorsteps with the help of the Royal Society’s Local Heroes scheme.

Lawrence House Museum has secured funding for a project From Bodmin Moor to Neptune that explore the legacy of John Couch Adams, a local hero who co-discovered the existence of Neptune through calculations made whilst studying the moons around Uranus. The scientist was also known for his interest in the mountains on the moon, comparing them to the hills of Bodmin Moor.

Lawrence House Museum will introduce the life and achievements, of this significant local scientist to a new generation in Launceston. Creative activities will give the young people an opportunity to enjoy the story aspect of our science hero, as well as to consider the importance and impact of his discoveries, interests and methods. Further research into his life will be undertaken by local scientist, educator and Adams expert Malcolm Wright for a monograph. Led by Dr Joanna Mayes the project aims to engage local communities with science through creative activities, and to understand and enjoy their local heritage.

15 museums and galleries from all over the country have been selected to take part in the Royal Society grant scheme which provides funding of up to £3,000 for exhibitions and events which reveal local stories of scientific brilliance.

The projects receiving funding from the Royal Society Local Heroes scheme unearth the stories of scientists from across the ages – from pioneers of the industrial age, to intrepid Victorian dinosaur hunters and the discoverers of Polythene- an invention that changed the world.

Professor Jonathan Ashmore FMedSci FRS, a neuroscientist at UCL and chair of the Local Heroes judging panel which selected the projects said:

“The Royal Society Local Heroes scheme is a fantastic nation-wide celebration of past and present scientists and their influential achievements right across the UK. The UK has a rich and diverse history of science which provides important routes for modern day society to deepen its understanding of the modern world. Science drives local and international economies and is an important ingredient in our history, identity and cultural heritage, which is why it’s so important for it to be recognised through schemes such as Local Heroes. The scheme will unite and encourage local communities to run creative workshops demonstrating local scientific triumphs, and will attract audiences to engage with the life and work of scientists in their area.”


An insight into the Change Makers programme

Dr Tehmina Goskar hosts our first guest blog on our new website. Tehmina is leading Cornwall’s Change Maker programme, which is a flagship scheme of Arts Council England,  intended to diversify the senior leadership in the museum sector and inject new ways of thinking into cultural organisations.

Tehmina is a highly skilled curator with 16 years of cross-sectoral experience in creating, planning, project managing and delivering exhibition and collections projects, on a variety of scales and budgets in museums, archives, libraries, higher education and voluntary sectors.

In this post, Tehmina explains her experiences of working with Change Makers programme, and what the training entails.

Cornwall Change Makers Programme

Dr Tehmina Goskar

Consultant Curator and Heritage Interpreter 

“Adjusting to the Change Makers programme has been a joy and a challenge. What an opportunity, to have your own personal professional development supported so generously and with a view that by the end of the programme I might be considered leadership material by my peers.

I feel even more privileged, if not a little daunted, to be working in Cornwall whose own diversity is unique when compared with other regions, not least given official recognition of the Cornish as a National Minority. The timing of the Change Makers programme has therefore come at the right time for me and for the museums and organisations I will be working with over 18 months.

The challenging part is that I earn a living from freelancing. I specialise in strategic curatorial development, open knowledge, policy intelligence and research, and diverse-led audience development projects. That means my calendar looks mad most of the time and I am going to be ultra organised to undertake the ambitious leadership programme we have developed together.

My Change Makers programme looks like this:

  1. Leadership programme

    Comprising a formal leadership course (outside the arts sector), certification in facilitation, personal coaching, CPD, critical study visits abroad, and the achievement of the Fellowship of the Museums Association.

  1. Placement at the Royal Institution of Cornwall 

    Joining their Senior Leadership Team, contributing to strategic decision-making in the role of Lead for the development of its Bicentenary Programme in 2018.

  1. Research project on rural diversity with Cornwall Museums Partnership 

    With particular emphasis on social inequalities in the arts and cultural sector in Cornwall. In addition, I will be providing the Partnership with an opportunity to review policies which impact upon diversity and inclusion and setting up a national Rural Diversity Network for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Apart from planning my leadership courses, I have focused my activities on getting to know my new colleagues at the Royal Institution of Cornwall. This independent charitable trust runs the Royal Cornwall Museum and the Courtney Library. It’s been a steep learning curve.

How do you go about developing a radically different feeling programme for an organisation that has been around for 200 years and has become used to certain ways of doing things?

My greatest pleasure so far as been in having the opportunity to better understand its collections. Like any museum, their collections are what makes them unique – as a window onto the world for Cornish people and as a window onto Cornwall for our millions of visitors.

Most of the staff, volunteers and trustees I’ve spoken with feel that there is just so much more potential in the work we can do with the collections and the knowledge and stories they hold.

This promises well for the development of an activity-led programme, that celebrates the institution’s history and collections by focusing on new, particularly under represented audiences. It will also centralise previously marginalised activity, such as the great work their education department is already doing with migrant families and college students, who are struggling with the demands of formal learning.”

To find out more about the Change Makers programme, please email for more information.

Training initiative launched to support museum sustainability

A special training programme aimed at supporting museums has been launched in Cornwall. The Cornwall Museums Partnerships has announced the start of the second phase of it’s Catalyst Skills Training Programme, which will support heritage organisations across the county.

The Catalyst Skills Training, which is funded by the Heritage Lottery, has been designed to help museums in Cornwall to survive and thrive in turbulent economic times. The training will offer practical advice and help communities to come together and create a strategy for the future.

The programme has been created to specifically help Heritage organisations, of all sizes, who are facing potential financial difficulty, and are looking to create a long term plan to aid the sustainability of these institutions. Cornwall Museums Partnership is helping to ensure these establishments are around for future generations through this training.

Catalyst Programme Manager Clare Pennington explains:

“The strength of Cornish communities is in their unique heritage and culture. Museums bring communities together and attract millions of people to visit Cornwall every year.

The Catalyst Skills Training is working in partnership with museums, to deliver bespoke skills training to museums in Cornwall. The Partnership provide museums with the key skills and building blocks to help them successfully diversify and strengthen their fundraising and develop their businesses – now and into the future.”

The programme will be officially launched at the Cornwall Museums Group meeting on Tuesday 13th December, 2016 taking place at the Bedruthan Steps Hotel and Spa.

Training sessions will commence in January 2017, with workshops being held at venues across Cornwall throughout the year. It is available to all heritage organisations in Cornwall.

To find out more about the full range of subsidised workshops available and to book, visit or please call Cornwall Museums Partnership on 01209 500750.